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Industry Commits $45 Million to NY Photonics Center

February 16, 2001

In what could be the largest private sector commitment yet to a single industry/university research center, Corning, Kodak ,and Xerox have combined to pledge a staggering $45 million toward establishing a Center of Excellence in Photonics and Optoelectronics in Rochester, N.Y. The three corporate giants also committed to help raise another $30 million from other private sector companies for the new partnership involving New York State, higher education, and private enterprise. University partners include the University of Rochester, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Alfred University, and Cornell University.

The public, academic, and industry partners hope that the new center can position New York as a national leader in optoelectronics-related R&D and job growth, emulating Silicon Valley’s emergence as a hub for the semiconductor industry. More than 91,000 New York residents already are employed in the optoelectronics and imaging industry fields, about 13 percent of the national total.

The center will focus on creating technology transfer and pilot fabrication facilities for high resolution imaging and ultra-fast communications devices that can be shared by Center partners to accelerate product development. The use of light to transfer energy and information is making ever-faster and smaller devices possible, with wide applicability from medicine to telecommunications.

As part of his 2001-02 Executive Budget, Governor Pataki proposed $283 million over five years to provide state support and matching funds to critical private sector and federal investments in emerging high technology fields such as photonics. The state funds are expected to leverage approximately three times their value in federal and private funds. The specific level of state funding the new Rochester center of excellence would receive was not announced.

The state’s Centers of Excellence plan is intended to provide a job-creating bridge between the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research's (NYSTAR) long-term research programs, such as the Strategically Targeted Academic Research (STAR) Centers, and the business community.

More information on New York’s S&T efforts can be found at http://www.nystar.state.ny.us/home.htm

New York